Sauti Sol dropped a single featuring Amos and Josh called Nerea, which is, according to their facebook, about males taking responsibility for pregnancies instead of not doing so and contributing to abortions being undertaken by females. Most people are lauding this song as a great push to have males take said responsibility. They say it’s feministic; it’s awesome.
I say it’s bullshit.
Okay, not entirely bullshit, but it’s far along enough to be within sneezing distance of it.
Most of people against, or unsupportive of the song point out the flaw in the message as attempting to shame females who have abortions, or have had abortions, and triggering those who did it under duress. They point out how the song doesn’t hold the contributing factors leading females to have abortions. I agree, it doesn’t. I have other problems with the song; mainly, the subject-non-subject off the song: the baby.
A few days before the song was released, my sister was informing me of the Medical Dept. of the govt having approved measures that would make access to safe abortions easier for females. She explained that she was neither pro-choice nor pro-life because neither teams thought of the baby/fetus involved. She is pro-prevention. Prevent unwanted pregnancies from happening, prevent unnecessary abortions from being carried out. It’s a supreme position, I must say. I didn’t bother telling her my stance; the talk wasn’t about that by that point. The talk was about how the fetus/baby isn’t centred in the argument/war about abortion. It’s control of a female’s body that is centred. So, when Nerea was released, and I listened to the lyrics, I had the ideas in mind. And therein my problems with the song.
The song doesn’t care for the baby no matter what Sauti Sol, Amos and Josh, and the marketers say. The child in question is an idea; it’s an icon, which begs the question, why are you even having a baby if all you want is an icon? Have a baby, not an icon. Don’t have Nelson Mandela, or Wangari Maathai; have a human.
Additionally, what sort of parent are you that you want your child to be brutalised? Good parents don’t want their children to have to fight for rights, to be beaten by police; to be exploited by governments that promote goodwill using their experiences and profile, but do nothing to implement and operationalise that which the icons were fighting for. They want their children to live in a world that practises the ideals of such icons.
Secondly, this song has nothing to do with men save making people sympathetic to their pain when they want children the female subject doesn’t want to have, or can’t have. The song talks solely about the female, and what they want their child to be; which is annoyingly normative. The song asks the female not to got through with the abortion because the man will raise it but says nothing about what it will take. Who will nurse the baby? Who will hold it when it needs be? What if its cholic? What if it’s disabled? What if it’s autistic, or albino? How will it be raised? What if it’s transgender or genderqueer? What if it’s non-heterosexual? What if it has a mental disorder, or illness? What if that child is boringly average? What then? Will they still want to have their non-Mandela child? None of these is addressed. What is addressed is the yearning of the men to raise this child they will neither carry, nor birth; nor really have a plan to raise. Thy just want this child who will be an icon. Ole wako when you you’re not an icon, baby.
It’s good to bring to attention the need for males to take responsibility for an unwanted pregnancy. It’s good to highlight that some men want children that their female counterparts might be unwilling to carry to term, and birth. What’s not good is doing so superficially. Centring the pain of a man without thinking of the other subjects involved. Desiring a child to make them great instead of have them human.
Nerea fails because it doesn’t do much beyond the superficial, and the patriarchal. It’s not all about you, men. It’s about so much more, for which you should be prepared when you decide to go imploring a female to carry a baby you want too term. Have a human, not a project.